The most frequent question brides and grooms ask during tours is “What am I forgetting to ask?” There are a number of questions that you should be asking the event planners at reception venues-here are a few of the big ones:
1. Where is the food prepared? It seems like a no-brainer but it is one of the biggest questions you need to ask! Is there a dedicated kitchen, chef and support staff for your particular event? Do you have to share the kitchen with a restaurant? Is there even a kitchen on the property? For your wedding you want to make sure there is a kitchen & crew dedicated to your big day. The food at the reception is the main event and you want to ensure that it has been freshly prepared on the property and that the kitchen staff can accommodate any special requests or allergies. If the food is prepared ahead of time and transported to your event location the chefs lose the ability to customize the selections and deal with special needs of your guests.
2. Are there any hidden or additional costs? Price should be spelled out very clearly. You should know the base price per person, the service charge, gratuity percentages and tax rates. Find out if there is a charge for the room, chairs, tables, linen, slicing your cake or opening wine bottles. This is important because while the base package price of a particular venue may initially look appealing, you run the risk of adding a substantial amount of cost to the bottom line if the rate is not inclusive of some of those services you would expect.
3. Who will be taking care of us the night of the event? As the bride & groom you should definitely be asking this question! You want to ensure that you and the other VIP’s as well as all of your other guests are taken care of. With all of our venues we assign not only a banquet manager to oversee your entire event but that each couple also has a personal attendant to cater to their every need. You will always need things on your big day: safety pins, water, tissues and even someone to hold your bouquet or fix your veil. A personal attendant is a great way to ensure that you are well taken care of. You will also want to ask about the number of servers that will be at your event. It is important that your event is properly staffed to ensure amazing service throughout cocktail hour and dinner.
4. Can we customize? No two couples are exactly the same, which means no two weddings should be the same. Make sure that the venue you are contracting with will work with you to make your wedding day dreams come true! Maybe you were engaged in Paris and would love a crêpes station during cocktail hour or you met in Vegas and would like to incorporate that into your overall theme. Just because it isn’t on the menu doesn’t mean it should be out of the question…your caterer should be willing to go the extra mile to design a menu and event that truly reflects your unique style and tastes.
5. Is there discounted pricing available for children? A lot of families have children on the guest list, so it is a good idea to ask about special meals and discounted rates. If you have a bar set up you should also ask if the venue discounts for guests that are under 21. Don’t forget about those event professionals you will hire for the day of (photogs, band members, etc). Some will require a meal as part of their contract so check to see if the venue or caterer will offer discounted rates for them as well.
While those are the biggies, you should also take note of things such as elevator access & ramps, restroom locations and the surrounding grounds, outdoor spaces & neighboring buildings of the potential site. Proximity of local accommodations may also be a factor if you have a lot of guests coming in from out of town.
The most important question you should ask yourself is “Can I picture our wedding here?!” You really need to have a good feeling about the space, the staff and the overall experience you will have. Pay attention to those feelings and you are sure to select the location that is the perfect fit for you!